by Kevin Mullaney
Member of the Board of Directors
Save Our Sodus

I have been a full time resident of Sodus Point for 35 years but have been playing here since the early sixties and I am very familiar with the water quality and climate and how it has changed over the years. Recently, I have noticed how Global Warming is changing the weather and how this weather affects the bay.

It is evident to me that the weather patterns while similar to those of the past are much more extreme in intensity and frequency. I am no weatherman but the pattern seems to be warm low pressure fronts coming from the south conflicting with higher pressure cool air from the north and creating strong winds from the southeast which plummet my residence on the south shore of sand point. Then as the low pressure front is pushed to the east, offshore, the wind shifts to the west or northwest and giant lake waves attack the south shore communities along the lake. This happened recently as the combination of high lake levels and storm waves out of the north caused a breaches in the crescent beaches of Port Bay and Sodus Bay.

Sodus Bay has always been a windy place because the lake just north of it provides little residence to the wind but of late, with Global Warming, the wind has been noticeably stronger no matter which direction it comes from.

What I have noticed lately is that the strong south east winds build waves up to 3 foot in height that deposit black rotting seaweed from the bottom of the bay along the beach at the end of Maiden Lane. This has been going on for at least the last five or so years that I have been paying attention to it. The rotting sea weed is removed from the beach by following westerly winds which move it to the east, toward the channel outlet to the lake, cleaning the beach of the rotting seaweed. Then the process repeats itself. The near shore in front of the beach at Maiden Lane seems to have an inexhaustible supply of rotting sea weed which leads me to believe that the bay sediment is moving north driven by the south east winds and then east by westerly winds.

Rotting Seaweed

Rotting Seaweed

There is other evidence that rotting seaweed is coming up from the bottom of the bay. It is a fact of chemistry that seaweed sediment has to take oxygen from the water in order to rot. Rotting is an oxidation reduction reaction and when the strong southeast waves are flowing, foam is present on the shore along with the rotting seaweed. This foam is an indication of a lack of oxygen in the water that is plummeting the shore while it should be being oxygenated from the white caps being generated by the strong winds.

brown-and-white-foam-0985

This could suggest that the rotten seaweed will eventually wind up in the lake and it has been determined that the near shore of the lake is more polluted than the bay. This fact would tend to support my observations.

Given all this I would conclude that the strong weather patterns which are a product of Global Warming are working to remove polluting sediment from the bay. Then we couple this with efforts of Save Our Sodus and Nature Conservatory to restore the effectiveness of water shed wetlands to filter incoming nitrates and phosphates along with the Wayne County Soil and Conservation Departments campaign to remove seaweed before it can become sediment  should work together to help reverse the process deteriorating water quality in the bay.

by Kevin Mullaney

Member of the Board of Directors

Save Our Sodus

APRIL 2016 STORM

The combination of the storms on Sunday and Monday, April 3 – 4, 2016 and the higher than normal water levels (approximately 246.3) have caused a break in a few barrier bars along the South Shore of Lake Ontario, including the Port Bay east barrier bar and Charles Point/Crescent Beach connection on Sodus Bay.

Thankfully no action has been taken on Plan 2014.


If Lake Ontario was under Plan 2014 control, the water level would be approximately 7.5 inches higher and the trigger to increase the outflow would not have been reached.
The IJC has been working to release water at a higher than normal rate for most of 2016. Water levels historically rise through June so we need to hope for no more storms.

During this storm, Sodus Bay also suffered damage.

The east break wall was pounded for over a day, Crescent Beach reportedly over topped and definitely suffered damage over the winter, a boat house has floated several properties away from its home and docks and other items have broken free from the shores of the bay.

Sodus Point April 2016 storm

A boat house that floated away after heavy storm pounding is getting pulled back home.

 

The following was posted on the Sodus Point, NY Facebook page by Rosa Fox:

Charles Point can now again be called Charles Island… The photos below were taken on April 9, 2016 on the stretch of – what used to be the board walk connecting Crescent Beach to Charles Point. The board walk is gone. The breach is about 75 feet wide. Deep spots – so not crossable today. A plume of mud from the break goes 1/4 to 1/2 mile south out into the bay. We expect that the break will widen, as the waves have already started to wash away bushes and beach into the bay. Location is west of the Bloomer cottage.”

April 2016 Storm Damage Sodus Point, NY

Photo by Rosa Fox: Huge hole in Crescent Beach located near Charles Point

 

Photo by Rosa Fox: 70 ft + Breech of Crescent Beach located near Charles Point caused by April 5-6, 2016 Storm on Lake Ontario near Sodus Bay

Photo by Rosa Fox: 70 ft + Breach of Crescent Beach located near Charles Point caused by April 3-4, 2016 Storm on Lake Ontario near Sodus Bay

 

Photo by Rosa Fox: 70 ft + Breech of Crescent Beach located near Charles Point caused by April 5-6, 2016 Storm on Lake Ontario near Sodus Bay

Photo by Rosa Fox: 70 ft + Breach of Crescent Beach located near Charles Point caused by April 3-4, 2016 Storm on Lake Ontario near Sodus Bay

 

Charles Point, Aerial Photo from Cornell Library, Circa 1938

Charles Point, Aerial Photo from Cornell Library, Circa 1938 – Charles Point and Crescent Beach aren’t connected

 

CLAYTON — In two months, Plan 2014 will be celebrating the second anniversary of its inception. There is no set date, however, for its official implementation. Plan 2014 seeks to update half-decade-old lake and river water level regulations so the St. Lawrence River can return to more natural flowing patterns. Last weekend’s Clayton boat show held at the Cerow Recreation Park Arena featured a Plan 2014 presentation by Dereth B. Glance, a commissioner with the International Joint Commission. Plan 2014 was devised by the IJC, a partnership between the United States and Canada to help resolve issues concerning water resources bordering the two countries. Ms. Glance summarized the plan’s goals and gave an update on its progress. She said the plan is essentially in a holding pattern until the IJC receives word from the United States and Canadian governments. Once both governments and the IJC have officially agreed upon the plan, implementation can begin. The plan would update Plan 1958-DD, which has not been changed in more than 50 years. The problem, Ms. Glance said, is that the current plan does not take natural occurrences into account, such as changes in temperature and ice cover over a number of years. Ms. Glance said the current regulations have “compressed” water flow that lies between high and low levels of the lake and seaway. As a result, wetland ecosystems have been harmed significantly, and northern pike populations have plummeted. One of the most important aspects of the plan, Ms. Glance said, is that it’s designed to improve all interests in the lakes and seaway, including the environment, hydropower, sanitation, recreation and navigation. She noted, however, that there have been concerns that new water levels under Plan 2014 regulations could affect dock placement. “We understand that you can’t regulate water levels to make everybody happy, because everybody wants the level at the right level where their dock is,” she said. “That’s important for us to hear ... but we have to do what’s best for the entire system.” Ms. Glance was joined by former Department of Conservation Regional Director Thomas E. Brown, who said the plan would also utilize “adaptive management,” which would analyze the effects of the plan once it’s put into action. Plan 2014 has been supported by U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, who has said she is building support in Congress to help speed up the plan’s launch.

An April 3-4 Storm of 2016 Outcome – a 75 feet breach in Charles Point which is now separating Charles Island from Crescent Beach. Photo by Charles Boogaard

 

This April Storm just gave us a glimpse of what high water levels and a relatively minor storm can do. Arney’s Marina in Sodus Point is barely above water.

As if the storm didn’t send a strong message for us to keep applying pressure and making sure the Plan 2014 doesn’t move forward, a recent article published in Watertown Daily  just added the proverbial fuel to the fire.

It reminded us that in two months, Plan 2014 would be celebrating the second anniversary of its inception.   Dereth B. Glance, a commissioner with the International Joint Commission made a presentation about Plan 2014 at a recent boat show in Clayton, NY.

According to the article, Ms. Glance summarized the plan’s goals and gave an update on its progress. She said the plan is essentially in a holding pattern until the IJC receives word from the United States and Canadian governments. Once both governments and the IJC have officially agreed upon the plan, implementation can begin.

“The plan would update Plan 1958-DD, which has not been changed in more than 50 years. The problem, Ms. Glance said, is that the current plan does not take natural occurrences into account, {INDEED, INCLUDING STORMS SIMILAR TO THE ONE WE JUST HAD – admin} such as changes in temperature and ice cover over a number of years. Ms. Glance said the current regulations have “compressed” water flow that lies between high and low levels of the lake and seaway. As a result, wetland ecosystems have been harmed significantly, and northern pike populations have plummeted.

One of the most important aspects of the plan, Ms. Glance said, is that it’s designed to improve all interests in the lakes and seaway, including the environment, hydropower, sanitation, recreation and navigation. She noted, however, that there have been concerns that new water levels under Plan 2014 regulations could affect dock placement. {A major understatement from our perspective – admin} 

“We understand that you can’t regulate water levels to make everybody happy, because everybody wants the level at the right level where their dock is,” she said. “That’s important for us to hear … but we have to do what’s best for the entire system.” {We also want our shoreline to stay where it is. What’s wrong with that?- admin}

Plan 2014 has been supported by U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, who has said she is building support in Congress to help speed up the plan’s launch.”

Below is a photo (by Chris Trine) of the protection for the parking lot at Sodus Point Park, owned by Wayne County. The damage would be greater under Plan 2014, since water levels would be much higher than at the present time.  Additionally, and more importantly, the damage to public infrastructure like this was never added as a cost during Plan 2014 assessments.

Parking-Lot-Protection-Chri

 

The message that this storm brought was loud and clear: We need to do all we can to prevent Plan 2014 from going into effect. We are reaching out to our community for support – please support us financially so that we can facilitate the restoration of the barrier bar, make the necessary trips, collect more data and once again deliver our message to the decision makers BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.  

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